Saturday, February 26, 2011

Benol Forced Out as Chair of LV Tea Party

Below is an anonymous email I rec'd late last night. I have confirmed that Mat Benol has, in fact resigned as the Chair of the LV Tea Party. He was, in fact, forced out by a cabal who could never get over his support of LV Congressman Charlie Dent last year.

Apparently, all the huddles Joe Hilliard is having with Wayne Woodman and Scott Ott at the Lehigh County GOP are just wonderful.

"I am writing you from an annonymous account. I am requesting that you please keep my identity a secret.

"I am writing to let you know that Mat Benol has resigned as chair from the tea party, leaving the vice chair in charge. The vice chair is Kim Schmidtner.

"Please watch on 3/4 (our next meeting) as Kim makes the announcement that Mat resigned. She will tell you that it was for personal reasons or some other bullshit line.

"I will tell you, that the real reason Mat left is that he was forced out. He was forced out by Kim and Joe Hilliard. Ever since Mat took over as chair, and endorsed Charlie Dent, they have accused Mat of working 'for the NRC' and having 'met behind closed doors' with members of the party. Mat fully admits to this. However, he was meeting these people as a private citizen and not as 'chair of the tea party' or even as a representive of the tea party. Both these individuals made it impossible to govern the tea party group let alone accomplish anything during his short tenure.

"If you don't agree with these two personalities then you get a huge target on your back. They make your life miserable, which is what they did to Mat as soon as he endorsed Charlie Dent. They hammered him daily either he wasn't following the bylaws, or he shouldn't be doing A, or why did you do it that way? Kim would not give Mat the information/contacts that he needed in order to work with other groups, or with other leaders in the state. Truly- she has become the 'queen of the tea party'.

"I know for a fact, that some people stood up for Mat, and asked/begged him not to resign. Because these people stood up for what they believe in- they are now targeted. One is being totally ignored by these individuals and the other is being threatend to be ejected from the tea party for 'threatining joe' by pointing his finger at him and telling him he deserves a roberts rules enema.

"I send to you Mat's resignation letter (please do not publish it) in the hopes that you bring to light the wrongdoing of these two individuals. You can see by Mat's own hand the reasons why he resigned.

"Thank you for your time and attention in this matter
Tipster."

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

The problem with extremist organizations is that the minute you start to think about success using reason and logic, you are no longer extreme enough. So it is with this teabagger group, so it is with every other extremist group regardless of how they view themselves.

Sanity Now!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I would not call the local tea party an extremist group, and more than I would call the Democrat or Republican or Green party extremists. But there are extremist elements within it, just as there are with local Dems and Rs.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight - last year the group was criticized for not having/not following bylaws, this year it's criticized for wanting to follow the bylaws.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Last year the group was criticized for engaging in politics and having unelected leaders. This year, it appears that the elected leader is being shoved aside for being too nice to Charlie Dent by people who are very nice to Wayne Woodman and Scott Ott. In other words, they are still engaged in politics. It's just a little more subtle.

Clem said...

The tea party formed because it wanted to oppose what Dent represents - self-serving sellouts who beg for the conservative votes and then piss in their faces once they are safely back in office. That they do not want a Dent backer leading them is consistent with that philosophy.

Dent and his ilk are already in charge. If opposition groups are expected to simply accept the treachery of one of their own, one who sees personal opportunity in aligning himself with someone who governs against their formative principles, then they may as well not exist in the first place.

The tea party seeks to combat the stagnation amd decay (that masquerades as compromise and bipartisanship) caused by two supposedly ideological disparate parties which have compromised all the way to a 14 trillion dollar nightmare. I don't think their goal is to be used as a launching pad by someone like Mat Benol.

Good riddance.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Or maybe it's being used as a launching pad by Schidtner and Hilliard. Have you stopped to consder that? Have you wondered why Woodman (Lehigh County GOP Party Boss) has bragged that he has co-opted the tea party. Perhaps you just said good riddance to a person who stood for more independence than that.

As I recall Mat ran against Charlie. Is he supposed to hate him, too?

Clem said...

Of course he is not to hate him. But the opposition should not go so far as to empower and strenghten him, and that is what happens when the LEADER of the party is seen as publicly supporting someone whose polictics and governance has been antithetical to their core principles.

If those you believe may be co-opting the tea party are out of step with the rank and file, the local group will fail soon enough. And, if the rank and file believes Charlie is the light and the way, they could have just stayed with him down on the road to happy bipartisan land from the git-go.

Catharine said...

Those of us R's who are moderate in our views, and not opposed to compromise to achieve change will not support inflexible and therefore brittle politics.

Perhaps we are not as obvious because we are not so loud, but we are still here, and we still vote in every election. That is why Charlie is still our congressman.

Catharine

Wayne said...

Bernie,

I'm not privy to all that goes on in the executive board but let me throw out my impressions of this anonymous e-mail. I think it is seriously flawed - especially the chronology.

1) The endorsement of Dent happened well before Mat became chairman. It happened before the executive board was elected.

2) Mat was elected to to be chair by the same people on the executive board that are being accused in this anonymous e-mail of forcing him out. The same people who where well aware of his endorsing Dent BEFORE they chose him to be their chairman.

The anonymous e-mail says "They make your life miserable, which is what they did to Mat as soon as he endorsed Charlie Dent." But he was not yet chosen to be the chairmen! The people being accused are the same who chose him AFTER the endorsement.

3) The language used in this e-mail to describe Kim Schmidtner as "queen of the Tea Party" seems to be crafted to appeal to you since you did depict her as the "evil queen" last year.

I have seen another anonymous mailing sent to someone who posts here that appeared to only instigate and spread disinformation to do damage.

4)I did not here a whisper of dissent from Mat's endorsement of Dent. It was perfectly natural for him to do so when running within the party system. Candidates like Mat were generally considered sterling examples next to the others that bad mouthed the newcomers that beat incumbents.

That's my impressions. You may be being played by an anonymous emailing coward from my POV.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wayne, I'd be prepared to concede your points, but the pro-Dent activity I mention occurred AFTER the election. In addition, I should point out that Joe Hilliard is hates Dent, and has for some time. Finally, I have Benol's resignation.

I take no pleasure in pointing out this problem bc I consider the tea party rank and file wonderful people and I like the fact that they are paying attention.

Wayne said...

Bernie O'Hare said...
Wayne, I'd be prepared to concede your points, but the pro-Dent activity I mention occurred AFTER the election.
-------------------------------
What pro-Dent activity are you talking about? Mat endorsed Dent in Sept. Executive board was elected in Oct. and sometime LATER they chose Mat to lead. What am I missing?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Benol was apparently being accused of pursuing a political agenda by Joe Hilliard, who himself is actively involved w/ the LC GOP chair. Benol has become too friendly with the Dent camp, so he's been accused by Joe of trying to change the direction of the group.

Wayne said...

The "direction of the group" is splattered on a billboard on westbound 22. "We're still watching", whether it's Dent, Harrisburg, or the local school board.

Nothing you have said changes the fallacies in the anonymous letter. And you have gone from claiming pro-Dent activity (1:03) to him being too friendly (1:36).Can you be more specific?

And to tell you the truth I had half expected Mat to resign, but for none of the reasons - personal or pushed, that the anonymous e-mailer touts.

I may end up looking foolish after everything comes out, but right now I don't see this making much sense at all.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I suggest you give him a call. I have his letter of resignation from the anonymous email, but was asked not to share it publicly. I believe that Mat was given a rough time for endorsing Dent and being too friendly. The rank and file elected him, but people on the executive committee never cold get over the endorsement and friendly relationship with someone who is not pure enough for them. That's what I've been told in the anonymous email. That's what I saw in the letter of resignation. That's what I've been told by two members who have left over differences like this. My sense is that egos are beginning to interfere.

You claim there are fallacies in the anonymous letter. I think what you mean is that there may be no logical basis for this resignation, and there may not be, but it appears that Benol perceives things differently than you do.

Wayne said...

Last comment I'm making, I'll let Mat clarify if he wants.

The fallacies are bits and pieces everywhere here. The rank & file DO NOT select the chairman as you just implied, the executive board does. The executive board was fully aware of his endorsement since it was given before the executive board was even elected. The anonymous letter has that order backwards.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wayne, I presume you've read Animal Farm, where some animals are more equal than others. I suspect that some members of that exec board are more equal than others. I was at the meeting when nominations were made, and they came from the floor.

Wayne said...

Bernie,

Stop it.

You know where to find our By-Laws. I suggest you go read them before making anymore misrepresentations.

The Executive Board select its chairman from its own ranks.

What you observed was the nomination of the board. Mat & many others were nominated to the board that day. I'm a voting member so I might know what the By-laws I voted for say and what the offices I voted were. The rank & file neither nominates nor elects the office of chairman.

Anonymous said...

" ...Joe Hilliard hates Dent."

Absolutely, Bernie. And so do large numbers of us (in the political sense, of course. I've heard he's a very nice man).

I've never attended a Tea Party or tea party or any party that doesn't offer beer. But any person who, or group that, claims to be conservative/libertarian should be appalled at Charlie Dent's record. Remember him voting for bailouts for banks that are still failing and continuing to defend it?

Any group claiming a conservative/libertarian ideology should wretch at the mention of RINO Charlie and not be led by anyone who would consider supporting him.

Although I disagree strongly with proud Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, I admire how he sticks to his philosophical guns (are we still permitted to use that expression?). The Tea Party gets the same respect for conducting its own purification and sticking to its philosophical guns.

I'd rather be criticized for being an extremist than for being wishy washy and standing for everything, i.e. nothing at all.

The Battle Cry of Freedom said...

To those out that who believe that Charlie Dent is a bloodsucking bleeding heart liberal and needs to be replaced I say to you where were you last year. You might recall our choices, Jake "I am a fake" Towne who had absolutely no influence on the election,, John "I don't know anything about running a city's financies" Callahan, and Charlie "I am a moderate" Dent. Boy it was really difficult to make a selection. I like Charlie but I know what he is and where he comes from. I don't like some of the things he supports but he was the best selection because no one else came out to run against him. So you wonderful "critics" need to shut your pie hole until you have spent some time in the arena.
Mike Benol is a truly great guy who belonged to a very idealistic organization that was and is filled with hypocrites. Claiming that they are all about education, they refused to enter the political fray in order to give proper assistance to Matt in the primary. Now they boot him out for some inane reason. This failure to move to the next level, supporting those who belive in things the Tea Party claims to support and failing to support those elected officials and candidates, is going to cause their base to collapse. The folks in the Tea Party want to do more politically yet the leadership is putting the stops to it while claiming to be leaders with meaningless resolutionts that have gone without signatures and with plans that are not working thus failure is just a few months away for the Leigh Valley Tea Party.

Tipster. said...

Wayne-

I know you would like to think that these same people who elected Mat would support him. That's is the way it should be.

Benol was asked to be chair for two reasons. 1. Joe suggested that he needed to be more in the limelight so he could get his name out there, if he decided to run again for public office. 2. Kim claimed to be overwhelmed with her responsibility as chair and it was affecting her family life.

Benol had 3 meetings with elected officials. The first being with Dent. Dent congratulated Benol on his campaign and thanked him for running a clean campaign. They asked him if he planned on continuing his political carrer, and discussed the best way to do that. The second and third meeting were with Mary Barket and Bob Mensch. Both as a private citizen, where Mat continued the discussion on how to keep his name out in public in case he decided to run for office again.

It was sometime after the third meeting that Joe found out Mat had these meetings and decided they were inappropriate. Right around the timeline that the November elections had occured, and the Lehigh County budget talks were going on. He even tried to add an addendum to the bylaws that stated "No member of the executive board may meet or speak with elected officials". All the while, Joe was meeting with Wayne Woodman, Scott Ott, Glenn Eckart and Dean Browning.

Being unsuccessful in trying to add his addendum, Joe somehow convinced Kim that Mat was trying to use the tea party to further his political carrer. Kim began to micro manage everything that Mat tried to do. Joe tried to keep telling Mat that he was in violation of the bylaws with every desicion that he made. For example with the media campaign was supposed to roll out after the new congress took office. We could not meet the deadline because Joe and Kim insisted that the board be involved in every step of the campaign. Mat originally asked the designer to come up 3-4 designs (he came back with 6) and it was supposed to be an up or down vote. However, Kim and Joe insisted that he was outside the bylaws. The board was innondated with emails, discussing what 'eyes' to use, what colors should be in the background, what font to use for the lettering, all to satisfy Joe's need to make sure we were in compliance with the bylaws. The board actually had to discuss whether or not blue eyes would be considered racist or not (look at the eyes that we have now). Joe and Kim pushed to make sure that every single element of the media campaign was voted on.

Kim never released any of her contacts with other groups, so Mat could become the point of contact for them. Mat should have become the point of contact for our legal filings, as he was the chair. Kim insisted that she continue to be point of contact with lawyer and other organizations as well (like Freedom Works, American Heritage Foundation) While complaining she had too much work to do for the tea party, she took on more work, for example the website.

There are other examples on how Mat was micromanaged, but I fail to see how bringing them to light would make any difference. While you may think me an anonymous email coward, I like to think that I am trying to bring to light the craziness that has befallen the executive board. What is really funny Wayne, is that if you knew who I was, you would believe everything that I was saying, probably with little question. Alas, I must always remain 'the tipster' so I too, do not end up with a target on my back.

Tipster. said...

Oh, and just for informations sake. The direction that Mat asked the board to take with the group was to allow elected officials (no matter what affiliation) come to speak to membership so that they could be held accountable for the votes they make and what positions they support. Which in my opinion is what the tea party was created for. Not to send it's members out in the wind to make these questions on their own with no support.

Anonymous said...

I may not agree with Congressman Dent on many issues.The thought of a Congressman John Callahan frightened me to my soul !

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stop it.

You know where to find our By-Laws. I suggest you go read them before making anymore misrepresentations."


Wayne I was there the night that nominations were made and they came from the floor. I remember this quote clearly. Now how you chose the actual officers among the exec board may have been different. But the fact is that Benol is gone and he feels forced out by others on the board

Bernie O'Hare said...

"'d rather be criticized for being an extremist than for being wishy washy and standing for everything, i.e. nothing at all."

What people like Dent stand for is tolerance and listening to others. Any person who thinks there is some kind of litmus test for other pols will soon end up being unable to support anyone but himself.

Toomey refused to sign your goofy limited government pledge. How long before you decide he's too "liberal" for you?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"he direction that Mat asked the board to take with the group was to allow elected officials (no matter what affiliation) come to speak to membership so that they could be held accountable for the votes they make
and what positions they support."


Sounds a little better tan inviting some goof who wrote a book nobody reads give a talk than nobody cares about.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Battle Cry,

Why can't they do what other nonprofits do and create a PAC? Let Joe Hilliard go off and continue his educational activities and let others try to make a difference?

I do remember Hilliard claim that he had filed RTKL requests in NC and LC over their budgets for information that was readily available online. This was well over a year ago. He was doing a major audit of both counties, their 2009 finances. He was going to release that with all kinds of suggestions for improvements. It was supposedly imminent. It never happened. It's always a bag of wind with Joe.

Lighthouse said...

between many of the comments here, and with the article in the paper this morning about sending "watchdogs" to local meetings, a couple of related quotes from TR come to mind:

"the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic--the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done."

and

"Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it. The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger."

Many commenters here betray the fact that they are "mere critics" who have never been in "the arena" by trying to hold Dent (and Benol for that matter) to such an inflexible litmus test. It is always easier, isn't it, to be the critic who can have the luxury of never having to compromise while in the echo chamber, than the "doer" who has to fight in the real world of politics and governance.

Anonymous said...

Not that I ever really cared too much for Mat Benol, especially since the circulation of flyers bashing Congressman Dent during a debate occured. However, I would think that the members of the Tea Party would want the executive committee to reach out and speak with elected officials to inform them on what Tea Party members expect out of government. Speaking to our elected officials isn't a bad thing. Having the support of nearly 1300 members makes those in office pay closer attention to requests, recomendations, or expectations.

It is not strange that Mat ran in the primary against Congressman Dent since he's an active Republican. What seems strange is that another Tea Party member Jake Towne ran as an ind. in the general election against Congressman Dent. Looking back it seems as if someone in the Tea Party really has it out for the Congressman.

In the end Charlie Dent is our Congressman, a majority elected him to represent us. We should show him our support while at the same time (as I've heard a good number of people state) hold his feet to the fire. Ego and pride should take a back seat to the mission of the Tea Party. We have to get this country back on course and financially stable once again. That is not going to happen if the elected leadership of the Tea Party shoots themselves in the foot like they seem to be doing.

The leadership prides itself in revolutionary founding father retoric. Our founding fathers checked their egos at the door for the greater good of the citizens they were chosen to represent. Perhaps those responsible for embarrasing the Tea Party should step down as well.

Anonymous said...

Only Joe Hilliard could come up with a template for a "political education" organization that would prohibit contact between the organizations leaders and elected officials.

I'm going to play arm chair psychologist a moment and suggest that on some level Joe knows that in any interaction between himself and others he comes off poorly. Therefore, it is best to limit if not completely curtail such interaction.

Joe Hilliard is a cancer. He kills any organization he's a part of. The local Tea Party fucks should surgically remove him before his crazy metastasizes throughout the body of their group.

Anonymous said...

Hilliard is a prick and he can be hard to deal with but one thing he is not is crazy.

Benol has had it out for Joe ever since Party Big shots like Shawn Millan and Mary Barket convinced him that Hilliard didn't deliver on various promises he made through the campaign.

Mat has a temper problem and he was an ineffective group leader. The LV TP saw a precipitous decline in attendence during his tenure as President.

Furthermore, Bill Platt Jr. Millan and others did the same to try to turn Scott Ott against the TP after his narrow loss to the Don. They told him that the TP undermined him because of Joe and Co. Another Big Lie.

Fat Shawn and Pretty Boy Charlie are part of the Progressive Cancer in the GOP. We can only hope someone will take them down in 2012.

Anonymous said...

Wayne you are experiencing the O'Hare hypocrisy schuffle. Your group is the target today. Gracerdlae was yesterday.

Never cross an O'Hare mancrush.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to tell these two that the Tea Party is just an appendage of the Republican Party. You were used. Now spend your time actually educating yourself about the issues you understand very little about.

Anonymous said...

Those of us R's who are moderate in our views, and not opposed to compromise to achieve change will not support inflexible and therefore brittle politics.

Perhaps we are not as obvious because we are not so loud, but we are still here, and we still vote in every election. That is why Charlie is still our congressman.

Catharine


Milquetoast voters like this is why we continue the status quo year after year. Coupled with the propaganda from the right, this fence straddling is what gave us the corporate oligarchy we now live under.

Anonymous said...

The "direction of the group" is splattered on a billboard on westbound 22. "We're still watching", whether it's Dent, Harrisburg, or the local school board.

That was evident when not a single TP person showed up when Bethlehem renewed a 5-year teacher agreement giving them a 4% raise each year amidst pay freezes for everyone else. Good job, watchdogs!

Anonymous said...

Typical Hilliard. Bloviator.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Milquetoast voters like this is why we continue the status quo"

Catharine and others like her are voting for a person who more closely reflects the feelings of the LV than anyone else. Most of us are middle of the road. That does not mean we are milquetoast. It means we are reasonable and willing to listen to others.

Anonymous said...

I would never belong to any organization that counts Joe Hilliard as a member.

For those who don't know him, Joe Hilliard is one of those arrogant intellectual guys without an intellect to be arrogant about.

Anonymous said...

Catharine and others like her are voting for a person who more closely reflects the feelings of the LV than anyone else. Most of us are middle of the road. That does not mean we are milquetoast. It means we are reasonable and willing to listen to others.


If you believe that, I expect neither of you to complain about the direction of the country, no matter the direction.

Anonymous said...

"If you believe that, I expect neither of you to complain about the direction of the country, no matter the direction."

So in your opinion, voters who are "reasonable" i.e. use their reason to find solutions to problem and who appreciate politicians who listen to others are the reason this country is going down the tube?

That comment is so stupid that you should do humanity a favor and remove yourself from the genetic pool.

Quickly.

Anonymous said...

If you feel inaction, on either side, is the solution, then by all means, continue to straddle the fence.

I never said anything about "reason." There are reasonable points all over. But voting Dent back in when you know he was part of the reason for our stifling debt and coupled with his steadfast opposition to the present administration, nothing will ever be accomplished except further inaction.

By the way, are you telling me to kill myself? That's mature.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, are you telling me to kill myself? That's mature."

Not at all. I was simply beseeching you not to engage in any sexual activity where there's a chance that you're genetic material would be shared.

Duh.

Anonymous said...

Why does a group that is supposedly about the power of Democracy not allow for its membership to vote to chose the organization's chairperson?

It sounds like the bs they espouse about taking away the public's right to directly vote for U.S. Senate.

More bat-shittery from a group already deep in quano.

Anonymous said...

The party logo features a "cuckoo in a tea cup".

Anonymous said...

"Fat Shawn and Pretty Boy Charlie are part of the Progressive Cancer in the GOP."

The classic sign of someone who has completely lost an argument... You turn to shameful name calling. Your post is an embarassment to meaningful political discourse. And if any Tea Party organization stands for this, hopefully everyone will see the true motives behind your words.

Donna Baver Rovito said...

It's profoundly sad to see people within this wonderful organization, with virtually unlimited potential to do good, behaving just like the politicos we all claim to despise. Personal attacks, name calling, accusations....isn't this the kind of stuff we OPPOSE?

If the tea party ideal descends into political infighting and nursing of egos and agendas and loses sight of its long term goals, we might as well be the DNC or RNC. SO sad. And I WILL sign my name.

Anonymous said...

You're not already the RNC? Wake up and look around.

Donna Baver Rovito said...

Anon 10:10

I DID look around - I've looked around at every meeting for well over a year. Clearly, if you think the tea party group - either ours or others - are kissing RNC butt or carrying their water, YOU need to look around.

If anything, our members are more antagonistic to the Republican party than to the Democrats, because the Republican party is supposed to BE the party of smaller government, lower taxes, and individual liberty, but all too often hasn't been.

Perhaps you've been reading too many NBC/MoveOn.org/ACORN talking points memos.